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Interview: Kyle Higgins Talks NIGHTWING, Chicago and the Return of...

Nightwing is headed to Chicago and it's not for a vacation. Find out what's coming up in the series.

You may have heard that Nightwing is headed to Chicago. This isn't the first time we've seen him away from Gotham City but if you read this week's NIGHTWING #18, you know there's a really good reason for him to check out the Windy City.

Issue #18 revealed the return of a certain character that has a big impact on Dick Grayson's life. We strongly suggest you read that issue to find out why Nightwing is headed to Chicago. We asked Kyle Higgins about this move to Chicago and there will be mention of the character but we'll use a spoiler block if you can't resist reading.

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Comic Vine: Obviously I love Chicago but why was that city chosen rather than another real or fake one?

Kyle Higgins: Chicago is…well, I'm not gonna lie, it's where I'm from. There's definitely a personal connection there for me. It's also a place I know very well. I think there's a lot of interesting aspects to it that places like New York also has. It's also a place where, in the DC Universe, very little has been explored, if any at all. The appeal to me was going some place that is iconic and also allows me the room to world build. I can develop a history and mythology that can be inherent to Nightwing.

CV: Does that mean you have the freedom to do whatever you want to the city? Like you can make yourself the mayor?

KH: Ha ha, actually I am the Mayor. Spoiler. {laughs} Yeah, within the realm of good taste. There hasn't been anything really established in Chicago in the New 52. Gotham's on the east coast. I wanted to do something that had a bit of a different flavor from the east coast cities. We'll see what people think.

CV: Will actual buildings be used in the art when Dick swings around on patrol?

KH: That's actually a big point of conversation between myself and Brett [Booth]. Nightwing's definitely in Chicago. It's accurate to a point. I include a lot of reference for Brett and a lot of settings and locations that are real places within the city. But at the same time, it's like the extreme version of Chicago. There are definitely extra buildings. There are some changes that we're making to make Nightwing's life a bit easier. That said, his apartment is located right next to an 'El' stop [elevated rapid transit]. Which provides easy access from the roof of the train. There are things like that we're trying to bring to the series to kind of make it feel like a real place.


CV: Since it might be a coincidence if both Dick and Nightwing show up in Chicago, will he take on another civilian identity?

KH: No, he'll be doing everything as Dick Grayson. He's moving to Chicago for one very specific reason and that is to hunt down Tony Zucco, the man that killed his parents. As far as Dick is concerned, he's only going to be there for a couple weeks. He's not that concerned identity-wise. It's not really something that's factored in. It's also a huge city, you know? It's not something we're really shining a light on. And since he plans on being there a short period of time, he's sub-letting an apartment.

CV: So he's not going to worry about a job?

KH: Right, at this point, no. He doesn't have very much money. What he did have burned up with Amusement Mile. I think we say in the issue he's down to his last Nightwing suit. So if it gets torn, he needs to figure out how to fix it and that sort of thing. But we'll see what the future holds, depending on how this first quest of his plays out.

CV: If he only plans on being there a couple weeks, what about Sonia? Will she, in light of this news, will she stay in Gotham or is she going to move to Chicago as well? Or is that something possibly later?

KH: With this first issue, they haven't spoken since the end of issue #18. How this will play out is something that we'll be exploring as the story unfolds. At this point, it's not like she's moving to Chicago with him.

CV: Upcoming solicits mention the Mask Killer as well as the Prankster. Will there be other costumed characters now that Nightwing is in town?

KH: Yes, there's a mythology in the city that Brett and I are building, the idea that there used to be masks there and there hasn't been in several years. The ones that were in the city are all dead. So that's a bit of a mystery in what happened to them. It's a mystery that will really start to rear its head once Nightwing shows up. What's interesting to me about the whole masks/vigilante dynamic is that question of how much does putting on a mask creates the bigger problem versus solving the bigger problem? The idea of that relation is something that's always been interesting to me. Nightwing moving to a place where there aren't any masks or costumed vigilantes -- it'll be interesting to see what happens as a result of his presence.

CV: Is Nightwing going to have a harder attitude because of Damian's death, the circus and the reason he goes to Chicago or will he still have his more upbeat outlook on things?

KH: He's not in a bad place when issue 19 launches. That's probably the best way I can describe it. As far as Dick is concerned, Tony Zucco being alive, while it's befuddling, it's something he wants to look into and deal with. Zucco is also representative of something Dick can control. It's something that in the aftermath of the Court of Owls reveal, Amusement Mile being burnt down, Raya being killed, the circus leaving him, Damian dying…this is something right now that Dick can actually do something about. In a lot of ways, the search for closure is something that is a bit more uplifting and hopeful for Dick. We're definitely portraying him as being in a pretty good place emotionally.

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CV: Which is better, Chicago Pizza or New York?

KH: That depends on whether you're counting carbs or not. I was raised on deep dish. I gotta go with deep dish.

Find out what this new direction holds for Nightwing. Issue #19 is on sale April 17.